Author Archives: Ken Harder

Field Leader – Roles and Responsibilities

Using a mind mapping approach, the IMPACT Team facilitated multiple, structured dialogues with mission leader groups to identify the real life challenges for field leaders.  The conversations resulted in the four dimensions, which describe both roles and responsibilities of field leaders. While, many job descriptions would not include all of the areas that are addressed in the four dimensions, we believe they are necessary to understand the complexity of the team, country and area/region leader positions.

The following four dimensions are generic and not specific to any one role or group. Continue reading

Onboarding: A Unique Journey for each New Field Leader

One characteristic of effective onboarding is individualization (See Introductory Post – Feb. 15, 2012).  Now I can hear your groans and questions, “How can we do this with our limited resources?”; “You mean we can’t have a workshop for new leaders?”  First, yes, you can have a workshop and other developmental strategies like coaching, reflection times, self-directed learning, etc.

Individualization actually implies that regardless of the help or training given, the ideas and perspectives must be translated Continue reading

Spiritual Resilience: A key foundation for effective field leaders

Field leaders, like all of us in ministry, have their ups and downs in their intimacy with Christ and their sense of God’s pleasure.  Even Paul felt the result of ministry pressure in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea and Athens as he began his time in Corinth in Acts 18.

The downs can come from personal/family tragedy or illness.  They can come from a feeling of personal failure, or tension/conflict among missionaries under their oversight.  They can come from chronic socio/political turmoil.  They can even come from organizational changes and perspectives.  Or they can come from the growing fatigue of doing spiritual battle.  They can also come from a sense of not using one’s God-given gifts.

One thing is certain: the field leader job is a “pressure cooker” role.  Continue reading

Onboarding: Needed for all Field Leader

Do you view onboarding as a necessary practice for first-time leaders of your teams, countries and areas?  If you are committed to the above perspective, that is a great beginning, but you are in a minority of mission leaders.  (If you are unfamiliar with onboarding, familiarize yourself with an introduction to the idea in the Feb. 15, 2012 post.)

The harsh reality is that most field leaders do not receive training or help regardless of whether they are first- time field leaders or promoted from another leadership capacity on the field.  Only 30% of field leaders, Continue reading

Onboarding: What is the driving thrust?

Helping another person move into a new position is often thought of as primarily a training function.  If we can only get the new person to have the right knowledge, they can get on with the job.   Thus, orientation programs in most organizations are times to give input on organizational policies/procedures and a few basic skills.

While effective onboarding will use training and input, that effort is only the beginning.  Continue reading

Coaching: What really motivates people?

Coaching is a growing trend within mission organizations.  Coaching is not only a good practice for missionary care staff, consultants or external coaches.  It is also a needed competence for all mission leaders, including team, country and area/regional leaders (e.g. field leaders).

Coaching has obvious benefits in working with missionaries.  It is also an effective tool in the oversight and development of field leaders.  It is also an essential tool for the onboarding of new field leaders

Here are some questions about coaching impact: Continue reading

Onboarding: An Introduction

In this blog we take the general concepts of onboarding and apply them to the roles of team, country, and area/regional leaders within mission organizations.

1.     What is onboarding?
Onboarding is an intentional process to help new field leaders become quickly effective in the basics in their new roles.  It is a practical process to help a new field leader get “on board” in the new role promptly.  For a general introduction to onboarding in the business world, read Workforce Management Online, April 2011.

2.     Why is it needed?
The need for onboarding of new field leaders is imperative for at least two reasons, as discovered in IMPACT research of 277 field leaders.*  Continue reading


Welcome to a Impact Field Leader blog.  This site is for both practitioners and researchers who desire to dialogue about practical insights and ideas that can enrich the stewardship of team, country and area leaders in missions.  We invite you to comment on the blogs.  Please also give us your ideas at [email protected].

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